Ways of using tools and tricks to accomplish a task. May refer to any portion of work during any stage in the brewing or fermenting process.

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How do you filter at home?

I thought I'd ask this after reading Brewchez's effects of filtering question. I personally don't filter at home, for the most part. I generally make dark beer, and people who drink my beer ...
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5answers
7k views

Adding Vanilla Extract?

I have a black stout fermenting right now. I added about 8oz of cacao powder in the boil and I'd like to add some vanilla extract, to taste. Can this be done before bottling? Should this have been ...
4
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4answers
294 views

High Gravity/Low Alcohol - How do I get there?

Everyone seems so interested in getting high alcohol into their beers. I like to drink and not get wasted, so how about good beer with low alcohol? Last summer's trip to England was an eye opener. ...
4
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3answers
767 views

Measuring Gravity

What is the usual procedure for measuring gravity? Is it typical to just take an original and final gravity measurement or should measurements be taken throughout? I've heard people talk about ...
4
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5answers
671 views

Cloning commercial beer

Where do you turn for good sources of info when researching a commercial beer you want to brew yourself? Magazines, web or the brewers themselves.
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4answers
260 views

Which strains of yeasts are the cleanest for warm/hot fermentation?

I am from Puerto Rico and the temperature here is like summer all year round(between 75 to 95*F) , and I really want to know the cleanest strains of yeasts for this kind of temperature. (clean ...
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2answers
1k views

Preparing Cherries for Secondary

A related question was asked about fruit in general but it didn't answer a particular question I have. I have 6 pounds of fresh cherries ready for a holiday beer. I'm planning on cleaning/sanitizing ...
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3answers
530 views

What is the proper method of pitching a starter?

What's the proper method of pitching a starter? Do I just pour the whole thing in or do I need to "harvest" a certain portion of it? I just started using starters (.25-.5 Gallons water + 2-4 cups ...
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1answer
151 views

Long cooling before pitching — aerate now or later?

This is a follow-up to this question: Long cooling before pitching -- read that for background. I aerate to add oxygen to my wort by pouring back and forth between buckets. If I wait before ...
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1answer
901 views

Is Mixing Yeast OK?

Say I wanted to make an ale which has some of the banana characteristics of a Belgian yeast, but also wanted some of the citrusy flavors of an American ale yeast. Could I achieve this by making a ...
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2answers
658 views

Using flakes in a mash

Do you just mix them with the grains or cook them first to get them gelatinized? What are the pros and cons of each method? What portion of the fermentables can be in flake form?
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3answers
2k views

Are Sparge Arms Necessary

Do you really need a sprinkler of some sort to sparge? Does it really improve the lautering process? How fancy does a sparge arm need to be, does it really have to rotate or can it just sprinkle all ...
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3answers
609 views

Plastic or Glass

Plastic or Glass fermentors? (Lets keep stainless steel out of this debate for now) Each has ups and downs. What are the main differences for the following aspects: Shapes and configurations Heat ...
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2answers
515 views

Propane tank usage in winter time

Today is 14F here in the northern suburbs of MA. In the winter time it can be tough to brew outside if you are a propane cooker brewer such as myself. When the tank is going full bore it tends to ...
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1answer
484 views

Aging a naturally carbonated ale that was bottled from a keg

Okay, let's see if I can keep this question brief--I have a lot of followup questions that go with this so it may be difficult. Background: Last year I decided to start doing an annual Birthday Brew ...
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1answer
537 views

Small batch size brewing trub issues

Five gallon batches generate a certain amount of trub in the fermenter. However, its a relatively small percent of the total batch. I am interested in trying some 2 gallon maybe even one gallon ...
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1answer
644 views

Maturation - what does it mean?

Homebrew recipes often give information along the lines of "6-8 weeks maturation". What exactly does maturation mean here in terms of conditions? Is it the same as a secondary? Can the beer "mature" ...
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1answer
284 views

Use of a mash screen

I have recently had some problems with my false bottom and want to experiment with a mash screen. This might be a bit of a stupid question but I have never used one before: Can you do the mashing with ...
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1answer
650 views

Does filtering beer strip flavor, aroma and/or color?

In the quest for super clear beer (and increase shelf stability) some brewers like to filter their beer. What impact does it have on flavor, aroma and color? Which aspects of flavor (hops only, malt ...
4
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1answer
168 views

Cereal Mashing for Adjuncts

What is the step-by-step process for cereal mashing adjuncts? Please include temps and grain to volume ratios.
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1answer
95 views

How does gradual hop infusion affect flavor and aroma?

I only make IPA's and have read about some IPA makers introducing hops gradually over the boil vs. adding the the "aroma" dose during the last 5 or 10 minutes of the boil. I understand that hops added ...
4
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1answer
133 views

Would you trust this starter?

I had one WLP001 vial of yeast that was only 14 days past its "best buy" date. I made a starter on a stir plate 2 full days before brewing. I got good growth as estimated by an increase in creamy ...
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6answers
1k views

Warming up a demijohn / carboy

As a continuation to my previous question about a very slow fermentation of sloe wine, I think my demijohn is just too cold where it is. I haven't taken readings - I'm still fuzzy on how - but judging ...
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5answers
1k views

How much weight to add to a dry-hop bag?

It sounds like the best place for the bag of hops should be somewhere in the middle on the carboy (or other container). This will mean that no hops are sitting only half in beer which should increase ...
3
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1answer
227 views

Adding water before bottling

Ok. Sorry if this has been asked. I really did try to research it. LOL I did my first batch of American Amber Ale, and made a few mistakes. I didn't take an initial gravity reading, and I think I ...
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4answers
5k views

How do you brew high alcohol beers at home?

I've heard that brewing anything over around 14% ABV is pretty much impossible…and that achieving anything over 11% in a homebrew environment is not very realistic. Is this true? If so, how do they ...
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2answers
599 views

Potential causes of unreliable pre-boil gravity measurement

I usually take a hydrometer reading immediately after sparge so that I can calculate total points of gravity (i.e. gravity reading * volume), and from there calculate what volume of wort I should ...
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5answers
727 views

Is it possible to do full boils without a propane burner?

I currently brew all-grain using a 7.5 gallon pot on a propane burner outside at a house I currently rent. However, I'm planning to move within the year to an apartment in the city and likely won't ...
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2answers
911 views

What are some popular methods for measuring boil and HLT volume?

Particularly during lautering and during a boil, I have a hard time keeping track of water/wort volume. What method(s) and equipment do you all recommend for accurately calculating liquid volume ...
3
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3answers
341 views

Any special considerations (besides taste) when brewing with mineral water?

I understand that a good rule of thumb for brewing water is that if it tastes good it's good to use for brewing. Most of these nine springs that i've tried are way too mineraly to my taste but "7 ...
3
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2answers
368 views

When to dry hop a barley wine

I was planning on aging my barley wine in a carboy. Is it appropriate to dry hop upon transfer to the secondary for aging. Or would it be better to dry hop after I consider the aging process to be ...
3
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1answer
229 views

What's the difference between casking and kegging?

So this is how my last beer went: After about three weeks I threw it straight into a keg. It didn't taste great, but I figured it was still young and just needed more time to condition. A few weeks ...
3
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2answers
393 views

How much time should a warm-fermenting yeast strain sit at the high primary temperature?

I made a batch of braggot (~46% honey) a couple of weeks ago, and used the Duvel strain (a pack of Wyeast 1388 and a vial of WLP570). Pitched at 65 and ramped it up to 82 over the course of 7 days. ...
3
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1answer
175 views

Basic information on priming

I'd appreciate a little input on "Priming": How do you do it? Which sugars do you use? Do you use it for all your beers and if not for which ones?
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2answers
803 views

Pellets, Plugs and Whole Hops

Hops come in three formats pellets, plugs and whole-leaf. Plugs are whole leaf hops that have been compressed into a little cake usually 0.5 ounces in size. What are the ups and downs of using ...
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1answer
302 views

Controlling exothermic heat from primary fermentation with A/C cooling duct

In terms of brewing with Ale yeasts, I understand that fermenter temps can increase up to 10 degrees, or more, than the ambient room temperature. As a "cheap" method for keeping the temperature of the ...
3
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1answer
277 views

recapping my bottles? Will it ruin the outcome of my beer?

I bottled my first batch of homebrew and didnt fill the bottles all the way. So the next day I opened the bottles and poured some more beer into them and recapped them.. I this going to mess up the ...
3
votes
1answer
915 views

stepping up a yeast starter

I followed the instructions in Palmer's "How To Brew" (along with some modifications from a Jamil interview that I heard), for getting a yeast starter going. It is now sitting on my stir-plate, with a ...
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1answer
196 views

Grains for Mashing and Grains for Steeping

Does anyone have a list they care to post that lists the "must mash" and "steepable" grains? Might be nice content for the site overall.
3
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1answer
215 views

Single stage/ two stage for all grain?

I into my 3rd generation of homebrew ideology and need some input. At first, I was a dedicated workhorse of the early microbrew scene, constructing a a welded stainless 10 gallon outfit in my ...
3
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1answer
411 views

What is a swamp cooler?

What type of equipment do you need to build one? How do you use it? What are the realistic expectations of using one?
3
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2answers
492 views

Open Fermentation Process

Can open fermentation be done simply by putting the fermenting beer in a bucket carboy and covering it with foil? The purpose of the foil would be to just keep airborne contaminants from falling into ...
3
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1answer
280 views

force carbonating a scotch heavy ale

I am brewing a scotch ale currently and haven't been able to determine how many volumes of co2 that it should have? also, what pressure should I put the beer under to carbonate to that many volumes. ...
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4answers
3k views

Infusing a beer with grapefruit

I was recently at a beer festival and one of the breweries (Fulton) had a delicious pale ale that had been infused with grapefruit. I asked the brewer how they did it and he told me that the night ...
2
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2answers
4k views

Ale bottle conditioning temperature

For bottom-fermented beers the conditioning/storage temperature is crucial and supposed to be really low (32F / 0C). Is this the same for top-fermented beers or is conditioning / storage at higher ...
2
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1answer
481 views

Side effects of home brew

I have kegged my last two batches...an IPA and a Stout. First batch was sanitized with Star-San. I experienced very uncomfortable side effects: headaches, muscle aches, and a sense of fatigue. So for ...
2
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2answers
370 views

Should steeping grains be crushed differently than mashing grains?

Looking at the process for steeping grains I see that it omits a vorlauf. Would crushing steeping grains in the same way as mashing grains produce too much fine particulate? Should wort from ...
2
votes
2answers
444 views

How to treat Brettanomyces for secondary fermentation?

I'm wanting to add some Brettanomyces lambicus to an old ale after it has been moved to a secondary fermentor (it should be in the 7-8% ABV range at this point, and the primary yeast will be Wyeast ...
2
votes
2answers
312 views

Advice for filling a carboy

I'm fairly new to brewing, I've done 3 kits so far. Last time I brewed in a 23 litre, glass carboy but I found getting the malt extract into it really difficult. The only way I managed to do it was to ...
2
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1answer
181 views

Brewing with Tonka Beans

I am planning a recipe with Tonka Beans. At what point should I add them and approx. how many? I know that vanilla is usually added after primary. Should I do the same with these or can I add them ...